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Doha, Qatar in One Day

Doha, Qatar in One Day
Qatari kids playing some sort of chess game with pieces that look like puddings to me

Qatari kids playing some sort of chess game with pieces that look like puddings to me

If you are flying long-haul out of Singapore, why not consider flying via Qatar Airways? 

Qatar Airways is the national airline of the State of Qatar and is currently one of the fastest growing airlines in the world. No surprise here because the state itself is developing rapidly, despite having a population of just 2.1 million. Qatar currently has the world’s third largest natural gas reserves and oil reserves in excess of 25 billion barrels, which have fueled Qatar to become the world’s richest country per capita and achieve the highest human development in the Arab World and 36th highest globally.

Think Singapore and Singapore Airlines on steroid if we have natural resources. That’s Qatar and Qatar Airways.

Long-haul flights via Qatar Airways are competitively priced and entails a transfer at Doha, the capital city of Doha. You can take the opportunity to do a stopover for a day or two to tour the city. Note that visa is required for Singaporeans.

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Doha is a modern and rapidly developing city, much like Singapore. It looks set to become one of the premier cities in the Gulf within a few years. On my last trip to Barcelona with Qatar Airways, we had a stopover in Doha on the way back and spent one night in the capital.

Constructions everywhere

Constructions everywhere

Within a day, we covered three attractions – 4WD desert sand dune adventure, explore Souq Waqif, the renovated Arabic market quarter and enjoyed seafood along Al-Corniche, a long seaside promenade that curves around Doha Bay.

We stayed at the 5-star Mövenpick Hotel Doha:

My bedroom in Movenpick Doha

My bedroom in Movenpick Doha

Living room area

Living room area

Kitchen amenities

Kitchen amenities

Bathroom

Bathroom

After a hearty international breakfast at the hotel, we headed off to Qatar Airways HQ and a tour of Hamad International Airport. This was followed by lunch and a trip to the Qatari desert on a 4WD vehicle with an experienced local driver cum guide.

Breakfast at Movenpick

Breakfast at Movenpick

I have been to deserts in India, Australia, Israel and other countries. They pretty much look the same everywhere, but just as astonishing and scary as to the power of nature.

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This was the first time I am touring a desert on a 4WD vehicle. the ride was smoother than I anticipated. The thrill is when the driver speed the vehicle up or down steep sand dunes or even just drag it horizontally across the slope. You would think the car is going to topple over together with you and the other passengers, but somehow, the wheels are glued to the inclined sand.

There are many desert safari tour operators in Doha. You can book one online or book one after you have arrived in Doha. It is definitely something worth trying, especially if you have not visited a desert before.

Some pictures to share on the 4WD adventure ride:

The 4WD vehicle we sat in

The 4WD vehicle we sat in

Inside the vehicle

Inside the vehicle

Tracks left behind by our vehicle

Tracks left behind by our vehicle

Tour camels in the desert

Tour camels in the desert

Muzzled camel

Muzzled camel

Camels being led away

Camels being led away

A boy running up a sand dune slope

A boy running up a sand dune slope

Sheryl from our group tried running up the slope too

Sheryl from our group tried running up the slope too

Me seated at the top of a steep sand dune slope

Me seated at the top of a steep sand dune slope

Top-down view of the slope

Top-down view of the slope

Happiness! In the Qatari dessert.

Happiness! In the Qatari dessert.

Break area for food and washrooms

Break area for food and washrooms

Inside the tents

Inside the tents

Our driver checking his car tyres for our safety

Our driver checking his car tyres for our safety

We stopped for some tea and snacks

We stopped for some tea and snacks

Elderly tourist couple strolling to check out the desert water

Elderly tourist couple strolling to check out the desert water

Water

Water

Love the view

Love the view

After the desert tour, we headed to Souq Waqif to do some shopping and soak into the local atmosphere. The place is newly renovated and very orderly. It is more or less organised by what is being sold. One can easily wander around the maze-like corridors for hours and get lost. The best way for me to describe it is that it is likened to a smaller Arabic version of the Chatuchak Market in Bangkok, Thailand.

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There are sections selling spices, textiles and even exotic pets:

From the outside

From the outside

The restaurant and cafe strip

The restaurant and cafe strip

A cafe

A cafe

Nice, clean and safe

Nice, clean and safe

Another cafe

Another cafe

Wooden boat outside a carpentry shop

Wooden boat outside a carpentry shop

Lamps and stuff

Lamps and stuff

More souvenir shops

More souvenir shops

Qatari themed fridge magnets

Qatari themed fridge magnets

Local Qatari-shaped salt and pepper shakers on top of various ornamental boxes

Local Qatari-shaped salt and pepper shakers on top of various ornamental boxes

Vases, jugs

Vases, jugs

Ice cream vendors

Ice cream vendors

Spotted Dora the Explorer

Spotted Dora the Explorer

Locals shop here too

Locals shop here too

Chill out at the cafe

Chill out at the cafe

The area is quite large

The area is quite large

The people here mostly appear quite relaxed

The people here mostly appear quite relaxed

Crafts shop

Crafts shop

Perfume

Perfume

Pets section

Pets section

Parrots

Parrots

Colourful birds

Colourful birds

Iguanas

Iguanas

Birds shop

Birds shop

For the ladies

For the ladies

Jewelry

Jewelry

Hair accessories

Hair accessories

Perfumes and cosmetics

Perfumes and cosmetics

Fortune tellers

Fortune tellers

Household items section

Household items section

Hardware store

Hardware store

Toy store

Toy store

Textile section

Textile section

This section is really colourful

This section is really colourful

Women's wear

Women’s wear

Actually, the Qatari women all dress this way

Actually, the Qatari women all dress this way

Tidbits and sweets shop

Tidbits and sweets shop

Assorted nuts

Assorted nuts

Street food vendors

Street food vendors

Cakes and pastries

Cakes and pastries

Pancakes

Pancakes

Kids' balloons

Kids’ balloons

Toys

Toys

Cosmetics and other women's stuff

Cosmetics and other women’s stuff

Qatari kids playing chess

Qatari kids playing chess

Love their smiles

Love their smiles

Happy shopping

Happy shopping

If you get tired of shopping, you can find a nice little cafe, order some masala tea and smoke a Sheesha (water-pipe):

Sheryl enjoying a water pipe

Sheryl enjoying a water pipe

Cup of coffee

Cup of coffee

The last attraction on our itinerary was dinner at Al-Corniche, a long seaside promenade that curves around Doha Bay and affords pretty views of the city’s skyscrapers.

We had seafood at L’wzaar restaurant, an award-winning, popular large seafood specialty restaurant in Doha. Other than tourists and expats, many locals frequent the restaurant as well. It was pretty good:

L'wzaar restaurant

L’wzaar restaurant

First you pick the seafood you want

First you pick the seafood you want

Next, place your order and how you want it cooked

Next, place your order and how you want it cooked

Large open kitchen

Large open kitchen

Dining area

Dining area

Crab

Crab

Fish baked with almond flakes

Fish baked with almond flakes

Mussels

Mussels

Hummus

Hummus

Grilled prawn

Grilled prawn

Restaurant is really huge, sprawling from one end to another

Restaurant is really huge, sprawling from one end to another

After a good meal, we took a short stroll along the promenade before heading back to our hotel and bidding farewell to the charming little city of Doha:

Doha Bay

Doha Bay

Strolling along the promenade

Strolling along the promenade

A drink stall by the bay

A drink stall by the bay

A last glimpse of Doha by night

A last glimpse of Doha by night

To book a direct flight to Doha or to travel long-haul with Doha as a stopover, visit the official Qatar Airways website for more information. 🙂

About The Author

alvinology

Alvin is a marketer by day and blogger by night. He is a 100% geek who spends too much time surfing the web.

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